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Residents living along the New Jersey coast are returning to devastated homes and communities after the area was one of the worst hit by Superstorm Sandy on Monday night.

Popular with tourists, the region is now littered with destroyed homes, beaches and even amusement parks.

There is already talk of how to redevelop responsibly in order to minimise future risks, but ordinary people are still reeling from losing their houses and businesses.

“Things like this happen in Missouri, they happen in California, they don’t happen here, this is not supposed to happen here, it’s terrible,” said one man, who broke down in tears.

Another tearful woman added: “It’s just complete devastation. My parents have lived here for 40 years and it’s unbelievable.”

In Sayreville, New Jersey, around 200 people had to be rescued – mainly by boat – and 130 of them are in shelters.

Analysts estimate damage from Sandy may cost the US more than 38 billion euros.

For now, the focus is on the clean-up and restoring electricity.

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